Them's Fightin' Words
We sounded like two hens clucking about the fox in the hen house. It wasn’t pretty. So my teen leaned in and in his you’re so embarrassing voice said, “Mom, why do you have to be so loud in here?” I took a deep breath and calmly said, “It’s hard to hear Ms. Randie up there. The air conditioner is so loud and besides I don’t care what these people think about me. I will never see them again.” To that he replied in his condescending, I am so superior to you voice, “That’s not very Christian of you.” My blood begin to boil, my heart raced, and if I truly didn’t care what those people thought, I would have beat some honor thy father and thy mother into him. Instead I replied, “Why don’t you tell me in that Bible that you read so much where it says I need to be so concerned with what these people think about me.” Not my best parenting moment, I admit, but them’s fighting words. I can’t think of any words in the English language that gets me more fired up than “that’s not very Christian of you” or, another version with the same judging mentality behind it, the “you’re not a good Christian”.
I have heard these words often over the years and I regret to admit I have even uttered them myself, of course, never to anyone’s face, only behind their back and to someone else only to prove my point about why I am right and they are wrong, and I have always had some scripture to back me up. I feel I need to insert a LOL here and a J. (Don’t you love it when people use scripture to back up their wrong thought process and as justification to continue being wrong.) I am such a hypocrite! I hold people to this high standard and get upset at them for falling short while I myself am doing the exact same thing. The old proverb “that’s like the pot calling the kettle black” couldn’t be any more appropriate. I digress. We can save the topic of the hypocrisy of us all for another blog.
Moving on, my son’s words have haunted me through the night and most of the day. They have caused me to meditate and evaluate why I get so riled up when I hear them. At first, I thought maybe he’s right. After all, we are called to be a light in a dark world and then guilt started slipping in. I started thinking I might need to repent. You know, some of us aren’t always secure in our salvation and sanctification and the devil likes to play on those insecurities by making us feel like we aren’t good enough for our salvation or that we better behave or God will turn his back on us. But thankfully, God reminded me that I am not good enough, but I am loved enough, so I moved on from that crazy train of thought.
And I came to this conclusion. Them’s fighting words because they are indicative of the opinion that so many people have, including Christians, actions make you saved, and it perpetuates the myth that Christians have to be perfect. I see this all time in the media when they make it national news every time a Christian makes a mistake. I see it in blogs when one Christian believes differently or doesn’t respond the way someone else thinks a good Christian should, or, my favorite, when they start throwing the “judge” verse around while judging themselves. Our unforgiving spirit toward our fellow Christians and the world and this belief that we must always present a facade of perfection adds to this myth.
We can’t get angry. We can’t skip church. We can’t wear pants. We can’t drink. We can’t wear makeup. We can’t hold grudges. We can’t cuss. We can’t get our feelings hurt. We can’t be a hypocrite. We can’t lie. We can’t steal. We can’t divorce. We can’t be fat. We can’t get jealous. Oh my! While we shouldn’t do some of these and some are just plain legalistic, more important is that fact that these things are not who we are. We are more than what we do when it comes to our salvation. What we accept about ourselves and who we place our faith in is much more important. We are saved by faith, not by works lest any man should boast. I am a Christian because I have accepted that I was born into sin, because I believe that Jesus, although sinless himself, took on the punishment for my sins when he died on the cross, and I have confessed this. That’s it. I’m free, not to sin, but free from sin. I am flawed, but forgiven. I make mistakes and I repent. I live here, but I am not of this world.
Instead of trying to be perfect and all too ready to point out other’s imperfections maybe we should be real about our own struggles and shortcomings and share God’s grace and forgiveness with others. Then, instead of a church full of hypocrites, we would have a church full of evangelists.
A better mom would have said this instead, but I am who I am. Just sayin'!